We’ve seen a number of barebones budget boards hit the market following the resounding success of the Raspberry Pi. Intel is next in line to try and claim a stake of the emerging market with a hobby board known as the Minnowboard. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
Intel’s x86 system is powered by a 1GHz Atom E640 processor with integrated graphics alongside 1GB of DDR2 RAM and 4MB of flash firmware. Chipzilla also managed to stuff UBS, microSD and 10/100/1000 Ethernet onto the single circuit board which measures just four-by-four inches.
As we’ve seen with others, expansion boards can be added to Minnowboard to expand its capabilities, like adding wireless connectivity, for example. Intel is also banking on the hope that hobbyists and developers will design other expansion boards for the system. It’s worth pointing out that Minnowboard is also compatible with the Yocto Project which could be a viable market for the board.
Scott Garman, embedded Linux engineer at Intel’s Open Source Technology Center, said Minnowboard really shines in its I/O performance. It can be used as a file server or network appliance as users can make full use of SATA disk support and gigabit Ethernet for high throughput.
Whether or not Intel’s Minnowboard will make a noticeable splash in the market is up for debate. That’s because the board costs a whopping $199 versus the much more affordable (albeit less powerful) Raspberry Pi at just $35 each.